Well what a year it has been but sadly not in a good way! The lowlights have been…..my dad’s death in April which has particularly resonated this December as it was his birthday followed by Christmas ; visiting my brother and little nephew on Christmas Day I was very conscious of the empty chair and place laid in memory complete with cracker! God rest you dad but it comforts me to know you are reunited with mum after twenty years.

Turning to work – related matters our PRU got RI on data. Now I know Sean Harford says that is not possible but it jolly well happened and the unfairness of it all still catches in my throat! I have blogged at length on this so I will say no more! Then HMI came in (a decent one this time) and gave us a green light for reinspection. ..yay! Another one! This is now pending for the New Year!

We need that “good” and how! Just learned over half our funding which supports our early intervention work and maintains good staffing levels is being removed from the next academic year. This is a county wide thing and the powers that be are going to dole out our money to anyone who can successfully bid for it on the grounds they are supporting primary schools. Quite how this piecemeal approach will work is anyone’s guess. My guess and that of a few supportive headteachers is that it won’t but we will have to see. What it does mean is that we will now have to charge for our services which will hit a lot of our smaller schools who rely on us for help.

On a personal level, my dad’s death made me reevaluate my life and I have already decided to take early retirement next August and go it alone as a consultant on behaviour and SEND. This is now looking a very good move indeed although it feels a bit scary !

So…..goals for 2016!
1. Get my business off the ground. I am fortunate to have friends in business to help and support….thanks especially to Lynn @reachoutASC . I also need to make contact with a couple of people who I can potentially link up with which will take some of the fear factor away, all thanks to #twitterland
2. Be OFSTED ready….we need that ‘good’ to be marketable….I am up to my eyes in data and colour coded reports that aim to show we are making progress! I have linked up with some local special schools and we are working as a cluster developing assessments using B Squared.
3. Link up more with mainstream….I am a founder member of a new local network and we have arranged some joint moderating meetings to look at English and Maths; hopefully this will give us some OFSTED brownie points aswell as being great for staff CPD.
4. I still have some career goals to go for in the areas of staff supervision and containment and mentoring/coaching which are very exciting….I love a new challenge. I am also going to be looking at children’s rights in conjunction with UNICEF and developing a programme in our setting. This is important because our pupils tend to be very one – sided in their views…their side!!
5. I still want to fly the flag for mental health….I organised a conference in September for some local schools headed by Young Minds which was brilliant! Hopefully the ideas will be cascaded through which will help up skill staff in working with children who have mental health issues.
6. I am looking forward to attending my second #NRocks conference in June. My goal after retirement is to get out and about and attend a few more! Perhaps even venture as far as London???
7. I hope to network some more with lovely tweachers and other #twitterpals .I am keen to develop ideas which will help me deliver high quality consultancy to those who need it. I have already got an academy keen to buy me in next year so I need to ensure I am good value for money. Mind you, the Assistant Principal did say that one LEA person who came in to observe a pupil actually fell asleep at the back of the class! I certainly hope to improve on that!!
8. I want to write. I have been asked to contribute to a book so have been busy tapping away on my laptop…the deadline is next week! I also hope to write about exclusions and the role of PRUS and I now need to complete my outline for the potential publisher. I’ve a lot of work to do!!

There is an apocryphal Chinese curse that says “may you live in interesting times” and I certainly feel that this sums up 2015 for me! I just hope that 2016 will be interesting in a good way and that it will change my life for the better!
Happy New Year!